Thursday 30 April 2015

Disgusted with Charity

The earthquake in Nepal has hit me hard.  I can't watch the television or read the newspapers without ending up in floods of tears.  I feel so utterly helpless.

These people have so little and we have so much and then the earth literally moves under their feet and what little they have is taken away from them.  They have lost their friends, families, homes, jobs, everything in just a few minutes.  They are sleeping in the open.  They are living in constant fear and they are grieving.

Charities race into action.  My television, my email, my phone is flooded for requests for donations.  They all want money.  Money. Money. Money.  I get told that it is easier and cheaper to source goods locally than to transport second hand goods.  I get told they don't have warehouses and sorting centres.  I get told it's too hard for them to take goods to disaster zones.  I'm told to donate the goods to the local charity shop who will sell them for MONEY.  I'm told that transportation costs are too high (and yet flights are still arriving in Nepal).

I find this disgusting for so many reasons.

  1. Not everyone has money to give but everyone has the capacity to give something.
  2. A charity which aims to help people in need are unwilling to tackle the difficulties involved.
  3. When offered donated goods, charities turn their noses up.
Yesterday I collected bag after bag of badly needed supplies to help the people in Nepal in just a few hours.  People like me who didn't have money to give, or maybe had already given money as well, took it upon themselves to give their belongings.  We received things badly needed in Nepal like sleeping bags, tents, blankets, coats, shoes, hats, scarves, children's clothing, kitchen utensils, dry food.  I was so touched by people's generosity that I found myself on the verge of tears all day.

We have another collection scheduled for today.  But now I'm not sure what I am going to do with the goods.

Originally, these goods were destined for a British Army collection in Aldershot but the outpouring of generosity meant that these containers filled up very quickly and by mid morning they were full.

My car is full of these goods because as of this morning I have no where to take them.  The British Red Cross initially agreed to the transportation and distribution of the goods.  What they were really agreeing to was for me to drop these things off at one of their shops so they could resell it. 

I've spoken to DEC only to find that all they want is MONEY.

Global Hands can't help me because I'm not an official organisation.

Age UK, Oxfam, British Red Cross, and the lot only want my goods for resale in their charity shops.

I am trying to contact the Ghurka division of the British Army to see if they are interested.

NEWS BULLETIN:  No one in the UK needs a second hand wooden spoon.  Thousands in Nepal need wooden spoons to stir their meagre rice being cooked over an open flame in the outdoor in a crowded tent camp.

I have been in contact with the Nepal Youth Foundation who help thousands of children in Nepal.  They are desperate for our goods.

I was warned this might be difficult.  When we first communicated our desire to collect goods, there were a couple people who warned us not to do it.  We dismissed those naysayers because it was the right thing to do.  I still think what we are doing is the right thing to do.

But I need your help.  If anyone out there knows how we can get these items to Nepal, please contact me urgently.


Unknown said...

Do everyone a favour - take the stuff to the red cross charity stop, give yourself a pat on the back for being a smart cookie, stop complaining about charities who are actually making a difference in Nepal, and put your feet up for heaven's sake.

Anonymous said...

Yes you're doing a great thing, but large charities have a duty to use their resources (including people) in the most efficient and impactfull way. For them, for this, that means money. No need to be down on them for it. The things you have collected will still make a difference. It's a matter of AND not OR. Well done! x

Anonymous said...

Whenever possible, UK Charities buy the items they need to respond to an emergency in the affected country or in the region. This benefits the local economy (by helping local markets and traders) and allows the charities to take into account local tastes, traditions and culture.
Local purchasing also helps the Charities to reduce transport costs (especially very expensive air fares) and speed up delivery times. Very often the cost of transporting a "free" donation from the UK is more than the total value of the donation itself.
Charities purchase goods of a standard specification and quality so that their principles of impartiality and neutrality are not jeopardised which helps to access often insecure places through their acceptance. Charities do this because people might feel they have been treated unfairly if they receive something that is different from their neighbour.
For this reason, Charities such as the ones you mentioned only accept donated goods for resale in the UK, through their chain of shops. Some I note have now launched #ShopDropforNepal and are appealing for quality clothing, books and unwanted gifts that you have very kindly collected. Income raised from any goods expressly donated in support of Nepal will go towards the their Earthquake Appeals for Nepal and they are not allowed to use the funds for anything else.

The best and easiest way to help them is to support these charities with a donation of money or with goods for sale at the shops which can then raise money. Money can be instantly transferred and converted into whatever is most needed for Nepal.

I know this might not be what you want to hear given the effort you have put into collecting but it is appreciated. Choose a charity and donate the goods to one of their shops. Good Luck.

LaDawn said...

Glad I didn't listen to anyone of these.

Shells2009 said...

Hi! Saw your post and walked by a cafe at Telegraph hill yesterday in SE London called Hill station cafe. They are collecting for an airdrop. Blankets to be folded and tied with string so they don't unfold and quality clothing needed. Thought you might like to j ow after all the effort you've been too! 😊 deadline for receiving goods is Tuesday 12th may